Dino-mite Dinosaurs!

Another Parks & Rec program! Last week’s topic was dinosaurs and I am AMAZED by how much they pack into a little more than an hour.

First up was making dinosaur masks! All we needed was half a paper plate with an eye hole cut, some triangles for ears and nose, googly eyes, and crayons. And a straw for the handle.

Next, the kids got an idea of the size of a dinosaur by seeing how many of their feet could fit inside the print of one dinosaur foot. Then they headed out into the hallway with the longest tape measure I have ever seen and pulled it out to the length of several kinds of dinosaurs. Even the parents observing were amazed seeing how big some of these creatures were! I mean, you know they’re BIG, but WOW!

After that they headed back into the classroom to make their dinosaur feet to complete the whole dino look 🙂

Then some hands-on fun and probably Maribel’s favorite part… they used droppers of warm water to melt the “glaciers” to find the little plastic dinosaurs. It took team work and the girls were SO excited when they got their dinosaur out. Then they headed over to these bins of sand where they were able to play paleontologist and dig for fossils. Let me just say those table clothes under the sand bins were a good idea. My kid is not good at keeping the sand in the sand box.

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They ended with a fun snack, so I actually stand corrected… eating dinosaur claws (bugles) was Maribel’s favorite part!

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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

I have mentioned before how much we love our town Parks and Rec department. They offer lots of great programs for preschoolers. Last week we attended one centered around the kid’s book, “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!” This program was intended for 4-5 year olds, but Maribel loves the book and we’re deep into learning letter sounds, so I asked if she could join in a little early. I’m so glad I asked, because she LOVED it!

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The first activity related to the book was to color in the coconut tree, cut it out and paste it on construction paper, then put foam letter stickers in it.

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The second activity was letter matching. I have seen different versions of this on pinterest, but never the coconut tree. It was perfect! I’m sure there are free printable versions out there, and you just use regular dot stickers and write letters on them to match those on the worksheet.

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An alphabet memory game was next, but that proved to be a bit too much for the kids. I think using just 6-8 letter pairs would have been better. The idea was to match the upper and lower case letters, but to do the whole alphabet was taking foreverrrrrr. Haha!

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Last was a game of letter bingo that Maribel thinks she “won” because they kept going until everyone got bingo 🙂 This ended in tears because it was the last activity and she didn’t want to go home!

We have signed up for a few of these events in the coming weeks. They aren’t exactly cheap at $8 per event, but those 4 activities would have taken a lot of prep time/materials and planning for me, so I feel like it is worth it. I limit it to just the subjects she is really interested in and especially things that would be hard for me to set up (like today we’re going to a dinosaur event where they’re digging for fossils). I’ll report back on that one!

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Breakfast with the Bunny

Our town parks & rec department is really awesome! And I say that as someone with a Master’s degree in Recreation Administration and 8 years working full-time in the field. They. Are. Awesome.

We tried a new program with them this morning! Kids got to eat breakfast (pancakes and apple slices), make some fun crafts, meet the Easter Bunny, and get their pictures taken!

The crafts were great and gave us an opportunity to practice our skills with scissors and glue sticks. And “grown up glue,” as Maribel calls the elmer’s white glue 🙂

First up was coloring Easter eggs and a basket made from two paper plates with a half circle cut out (that was already done). Then the kids cut out the eggs with a little help and and the two paper plate halves were stapled together to make the basket. Cute!

Next was actually an activity on my lesson plan for the week that we hadn’t done yet (score!) so we can check that off now! We were given a baggie with pre-cut bunny parts, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners, as well as a white paper lunch bag. Easter Bunny bag puppet!

Maribel was very apprehensive about seeing the bunny. She is not a fan of people dressed in animal costumes… as we have seen with the chickfila cow, the life-size groundhog at a previous parks & rec event, and most recently at a birthday party with Mickey Mouse. A trip to Disney would not be a good idea for us right now. It would either break her of her fear or guarantee years of therapy in the future!

The P&R staff took Easter bunny portraits and will email them to us soon – see? Awesome! No paying $40 for a package of pictures with the Easter bunny at the mall!

We saw some old friends, made some new ones, and ended the morning playing on the playground in the absolutely gorgeous weather we’re having!

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